I work with Afghan recipients of Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) who worked as translators alongside the U.S. military during the war on terror. As one of the few immigration pathways offered to Afghans post-2001, roughly 30,000 Afghan SIV recipients have resettled in the United States since the program was established in 2007. Part of my research looks at the historical uses of the SIV to explore how immigration policies are activated in relationship to conflicts and war.
In addition to exploring the SIV as a heuristic of immigration governance, my work also considers the lived experiences of SIV recipients in Northern California, home to the largest diaspora of Afghans in the United States. I explore the structural contingencies and moral ambiguities behind decisions to conscript, and the material, social, and psychological aftermath of SIV employment. This part of my research is motivated by questions of how diasporas themselves shape, and are in turn shaped by, U.S. policies and interests abroad.
Finally, my work with the Afghan diaspora allows me to explore how the governance of visas organizes social life through the grounded context of urban-suburban geographies of the SF Bay Area.
I am grateful to have received support for my research from the National Science Foundation, the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Fellowship, the UC Consortium for Black Studies, the Foreign Language and Area Studies program (FLAS), and Fulbright Hays.
PhD Candidate with Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory
2013, B.S., Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz